Here's a thing – when there is an ambulance news story I often get emails from people asking if I've seen it. I've yet to see as many people email me over a story as this one. (And I like getting these sorts of emails, as sometimes I'll have missed the story).
The technician fell over on 82-year-old Joan Boardman's driveway in Louth as he went to fetch a stretcher.
The Boardmans have now received a letter from his solicitors saying he is seeking damages for personal injury.
Now the important thing is that I don't know any details of this case – so anything that I have to say on the subject is pretty much guesswork and supposition.
The first thing that I would suggest that if the ambulance worker suffered an injury, he would be off work on full pay for quite some time (I think it's six months down here in the LAS).
Secondly – I would suggest that if he had injured himself in a place of work, say a factory, then yes – health and safety law applies. I don't think, and I am certainly no lawyer, that health and safety law doesn't apply to homeowners in their own home. There isn't, as far as I know, any legislation saying that a path on private property has to be well lit.
Thirdly – We work in inherently difficult situations, lighting is often poor, sometimes there is a lot of rubbish around the place we work and occasionally there are some everyday hazards, like loose carpeting and the like. Accidents sometimes happen and falling over is often no-ones fault but your own.
I would also disagree with the comment from the Unison person who said,
“I can understand people finding it hard to believe but of course if someone is injured during work then somebody has got to take liability.”
Now a disclaimer – I don't like Unison – but even with that said, has there ever been a dafter thing said? We don't live in a perfectly predictable world and sometimes things go wrong for no reason apart from blind chance. Actually without that randomness of life my work would be a lot more boring.
Sometimes I trip over my own feet – should I try to sue the maker of my boots? Or should I sue my mum for giving me 'clumsy' genes?
It all sounds incredibly silly to me. I'd sue a business if I went up on their catwalk and it collapsed, and I'd sue someone who assaulted me when I'd been sent to help them, but to sue because I fell over on their path is just plain wrong in my eyes.
Of course if a lawyer wants to point out how everything I've written here is wrong, they are welcome to leave a comment.
Second disclaimer – if the above makes no sense, my apologies. I've just got in from a long twelve hour shift and I'm utterly shattered – especially as we got a late job out of our area.